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The 5th Independent Ceremony of the Iranian Animation Cinema

Film guilds should independently tend to their guild concern: Mohammad Mehdi Asgarpour
The 5th  independent ceremony of the Iranian animation cinema was held in the presence of three generations of animators and filmmakers in Shams Hall.
According to the report on the House of Cinema’s website, the ceremony was run by Ahmad Arabani.  Kiumars Pourahmad, secretary of the Iranian cinema national awards ceremony, started the ceremony by thanking Maziar Miri, the executive manager of the ceremony. Concerning the history of animation in Iran he said: “Before the revolution and prior to the creation of the institute for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults only a couple of low quality animations were made in the country which should be ignored. After the revolution and the alteration in the management of the Institute, animation filmmaking stopped, and then Alimorad made a few animations in a small workshop before his retirement. In recent years a considerable number of animations were made of which only a few deserve to be seen.”
He continued: “The young generation started animation filmmaking without adequate preparations. After 40 years we only carry images of animations created by Zarrinkelk, Ali Akbar Sadeqi, Ahmad Arabani and others. The young practitioners of the art have insufficient knowledge of the Persian literature and our classical music. Perhaps this is partly the effect of the globalization and onslaught of the satellites and internet. At the same time our government officials seem to have other preoccupations on their minds to pay any attention to the effacement of the Iranian culture.”
Email Sharee, coordinating manager of the ceremony presented a report: “After the call for entries, a total of108 works were submitted by government institutes, private companies and independent filmmakers. A 7-member selection committee chose 29 films and then 17 final jurors announced their evaluations to the coordinating and executive managers to name the final winners.”
He pointed out that this round of the ceremony was characterized by the presence of the veterans of the art such as Zarrinkelk, greater participation by talented young filmmakers and the private companies. Of the 108 submitted works, 36 films were made with government finance jointly with the participation of private companies, and 72 films were produced by the private companies. Sharee requested the alteration of the regulations of the animation ceremony, pointing out that: “According to the present regulations, feature length films, documentaries and the students’ works are evaluated in one category which makes the job of the jury very hard. To overcome the difficulty the new regulations should provide for separate evaluation of each one these groups of works.”
He concluded by appreciating the efforts of Kiumars Pourahmad, Maziar Miri, Mohammad Mehdi Asgarpour, Noureddin Zarrinkelk, Ravanbakhsh Sadeqi and the board of directors of the animation society.
The ceremony continued with the screening of a short film to honor Vajihollah Fard Moqaddam, and the then Pourahmad and Saeed Tavakolian stepped on the stage to present ASIFA prize to him. Fard Moqaddam thanked Zarrinkelk and donated his prize to him. He said: “I was his student only for a short time and I thought I had learnt everything. Now that I have grown older I realize what unique opportunity I had lost.. I was first introduced to the animation rules by Master Karimi, and I learnt animation camera work from Mohammad Fijani who is not in good health nowadays. For God’s sake pray for him to recover.”
He asked the young people to value the lessons of their masters and appreciate their efforts.
Pourahmad said: “Fard Moqaddam was one of the filmmakers from whose works one sensed the fragrance of the Iranian culture.
Tavakolian also praised Fard Moqaddam as one of his first mentors and added that he had created academic works at the National television.
In continuation Nima Masiha performed several pieces with piano accompaniment.
The next speaker was Mohammad Mehdi Asgarpour, managing director of the House of Cinema. He began by saying that patience and equanimity were among features in the family of animation filmmakers. He said: “We have got used to gathering together every year which is a great development. We can encourage one another and talk about the problems of our work. The fact is that we have had different periods in the country’s animation history to which Mr. Pourahmad referred.  Animation filmmaking is quite different from the other fields of filmmaking, and animators have problems which are different from the problems of the other film guilds. In some of the other fields of filmmaking such as the documentary, there are concerns even about personal safety, but in animation the concern are quite different. And that is why we gather together once every year to review our problems.”
He continued: “We can not just wait and do nothing, hoping that some day problems will be miraculously resolved. We have to do something if we wish to promote our art. This has been proven by the past records. It is possible that some government official will launch an institute such as the Institute for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults which has left a valuable treasury behind. We have to act now as there is no Guarantee that something will happen in the future.”
Pointing out the independent status of the film trade guilds, Asgarpour said: “The House of Cinema is not like any government institution with subdivisions. This is the House of Cinema and the different guilds tend to their own problems. I hope that in the animation field the available potentials are used to resolve the problems of this field. We should not wait for other people to do something for us.”
The managing director of the House of Cinema expressed the hope that the ceremony of the independent animation is held is held even better in the coming years.”
In continuation of the ceremony the Statuette and diploma of honor of best sound design was presented in the presence of Mehrdad Sheikhan and Alireza Farmani to Mohammad Reza Alimardani and Houtan Pourzaki for the animation “Palagous Fauna”. Karen Homayounfar and Mehdi Khorramian presented the statuette and diploma of honor of best musical score to Pezhman Khalili for the animation “A Woman Sings Under the Ice”, and Khalili thanked Maryam Khalilzadeh the director and Mehrshad Malakouti the sound mixer of the film.
Then a short film was screened to honor Abolfazl Razani, and Farhad Towhidi and Ravanbakhsh Sadeqi stepped on the stage to present the ASIFA statuette to this filmmaker. Towhidi suggested in a humorous vein that the organizers should use the faces of animators from different generations in the ceremony teaser.
In another section the statuette and diploma of honor for best layout and atmosphere creation was awarded to Behnam Deldadeh for the animation ”The Maternity Ward”. Merila Zarei stepped on the stage to present the statuette for best stop-action animation. She said: “I participated in this ceremony with extreme delight for I belong to the generation who went through their childhood, youth and maturity with the animation. During childhood I always tried to finish my homework soon so that I could watch cartoons, and now whenever I feel depressed I watch Iranian animation rather than Iranian films. From master Razani I learnt that nothing is achieved without work and thinking.” The statuette of best stop-action animation was awarded to Amin Haqshanas for the animation “Ism”.
Then a short film was screened in honor of Abdollah Alimorad, and Kamyab Darvishi and Golmohammadi stepped on the stage to present his statuette. Alimorad expressed his delight for seeing his old friends among the participants and thanked the House of Cinema for organizing the ceremony.
Golmohammadi thanked Alimorad for his efforts as his supervising professor during his student days, while Darvishi wished good health for masters of the animation and greater zest for the young animators, and requested government officials to pay more serious attention to animation filmmaking.
Masoud Mehrabi and Alireza Golpayegani stepped on the stage to present the statuette and diploma of honor for best script of an animation film, and Golpayegani said that Mehrabi had encouraged him during his youthful days to continue to work. The statuette for best script was awarded to Ali Darakhshi for the animation “Palagous Fauna”, and Darakhshi thanked his colleagues for their help during the creation of the animation.
Behrouz Gharibpour and Ali Akbar Sadeqi stepped on the stage to present the statuette for best direction. Referring to the creation of animation films at the Institute for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults, Gharibpour said: “In those years when the Institute provided opportunities for the creation of animation films, the Iranian school of animation was unknown in the world. I, together with Abbas Kiarostami, Ebrahim Forouzesh, Seyed Hossein Nirvand, Alireza Zarrina and others, launched the Iranian school of animation. That happened when the film “Freedom, American Style” attracted great attention at Zagreb Festival. It is unfortunate that the Institute now organizes an animation festival but does not produce animation films. Iranian animation has found its way into the heart of people and when that happens, nothing not even the political power or time can efface it.”
The statuette and diploma of honor for best direction was presented to Noureddin Zarrinkelk for the animation “The Humankind”.
Zarrinkelk said: “I have passed the time of receiving awards and even the time of presenting awards long ago. Nevertheless I entered my film for this ceremony and I am delighted I have received this prize. It means to me much more than all the prizes I received from around the world. This prize is being given to me by people who are either my children or the children of my children, and that means that my relationship with the succeeding generations has not been cut off.”
He thanked the organizers of the ceremony and Fard Moqaddam who had presented the prize to him.
At the end of the ceremony Seyed Reza Mir Karimi and Pourahmad presented the statuette and diploma of honor for best film to Mohammad Abolhassani for the animation “Palagous Fauna”. And then Nima Masiha performed another piece.






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